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Fascinating insights and lessons for the UK pig sector from a trip to Spain

4th Apr 2023 / By Lizzie Wilson

NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson discusses the fascinating insights a UK pig industry group gained from a trip to Spain, organised by ECO Animal Health.

Lizzie Spain tripI was fortunate enough to be taken on a study tour to Spain by ECO Animal Health at the beginning of March, along with a number of other producers and allied industry representatives.

It proved to be an eye-opening trip that I think we all walked away from with an entirely different perspective of the Spanish pig sector. Spain is dominated by five large cooperatives, consisting of not just producers, but also feed mills, processing and in one instance, a chain of own brand supermarkets too.

Only 8% of producers farm independently, whilst 62% are part of integrated supply chains and 30% are members of a cooperative.

The Spanish herd, now totalling 2.6 million sows, has increased consistently over the past few years – as other EU member states have headed in the opposite direction – to meet demand from their extremely buoyant export market. But it has suffered recently due to increased input costs, a fickle trading partner in China and a virulent new strain of PRRS.

Spain is now the third largest pig producer globally and has ambitions of producing 70 million pigs per annum (for which they already have slaughter capacity for); an increase of 10 million pigs. They’ve decided to cap production at that, due to environmental impact apparently.

Full article HERE

Pictured: Lizzie, left, was part of a UK pig group that visited Spain for a few days in March.